“Young people turning lives and communities around through art”
IT4Causes recently had the opportunity to work with RVA nonprofit ART 180 by helping them through some IT issues, upgrading systems,sourcing a modern fund raising platform, and helping locate critical funding for IT infrastructure. Since 1998, ART 180 has been providing art-related programs for young people in Richmond, Virginia ages from 8-18 who are living in challenging circumstances by encouraging personal and community change through self-expression. Most recently, ART 180 was a finalist in the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards, and was voted “Best Arts Nonprofit” by Richmond Magazine in 2012 & 2013.
Speaking to Trey Hartt the Resource Development Manager of ART 180, Hartt shared with us some of the outstanding work this organization is doing to change Richmond. “Every First Friday we open our doors and share the latest youth art exhibition at Atlas, our gallery in Richmond’s Arts and Cultural District. The next exhibition will open Friday, March 4 at 6pm and features work by the Black Arts Student Empowerment organization at VCU, celebrating Women’s History Month. Additionally, on May 20 we will be putting on The Really BIG Show, a community festival celebrating our spring community programs. This year we are producing TheReally BIG Show in collaboration with the Celebrate Jackson Ward festival, a free weekend festival celebrating the history of Jackson Ward featuring a full performance by the Richmond Symphony,” Hartt shared.
Can you describe how IT4Causes was able to assist ART 180 with network performance, as well as the benefits of having computers supplied?
“IT4Causes has been integral in helping ART 180 update our systems for a 21st century workplace. As a small organization, with no dedicated IT staff, we have cycled through professional after professional and no one has been able to give us the care and attention that Tom and his volunteers have. IT4Causes helped us identify the systems upgrades we needed, find funding sources, purchase equipment, and navigate the transition. Tom even helped us connect to a new fundraising database system we are getting ready to launch. There was a very slim chance we would have accomplished all of this without IT4Causes. Now, we operate more efficiently, spend less time waiting for outdated technology to load, and are electronically communicating much better as a staff.”
What has been one of your favorite projects recently?
“ART 180 is entering into a new era. In addition to our community and teen programs, we are beginning a new arm of ART 180 working with incarcerated youth and connecting their stories with legal advocates. The program is called Youth Self Advocacy Through Art and will provide opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated youth to lead the movement for juvenile justice reform in Virginia. We’ll kick off the new program this summer!”
How have you seen the Richmond community grow from ART 180?
“ART 180 has been a leader in creative youth development and providing opportunities for young people to share their experiences. In the three years I’ve been with the organization I’ve seen organizations and initiatives look to ART 180 to help connect young people to their goals. I think Richmond places a greater value on youth voice because ART 180 is here.”
How can individuals get involved with the organization?
“If adults want to volunteer, they can fill out our online volunteer form atwww.art180.org/volunteer. If young people want to get involved, they can contact Michael Guedri, our Program Manager for teen programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.”